Harrogate 'black metal band' sign to record label!

Leviathan of Harrogate's metal heroes, Written in Torment.
Leviathan of Harrogate's metal heroes, Written in Torment.

As revealed in a series of Retro features in the Harrogate Advertiser Series this year, there's more of a rock n roll side to the district's history than most people might imagine.

The latest little piece of proof comes with news that a Harrogate 'black metal' band - yes, we do have them - have been signed to a record label.
Written in Torment, who've previously released two EPs and one proper album (on Glorious North Productions), have now signed to Sleaszy Records.
Led by a frontman named Leviathan, the band have been hailed for playing an "astonishing style of black metal" - mixed with many other influences.
Since this paper uncovered the hidden heroes of the Harrogate district’s rarely reported rock and pop history, readers have also been sending in their own suggestions for overlooked acts.
Here is the latest brand new Harrogate's Top Ten Music Acts by the Harrogate Advertiser Series

1 Frank Mizen. (1971 to present day).

Harrogate musician Frank Mizen, centre, on stage with legendary folk-country-prog-rockers Wally at the Royal Hall.

Harrogate musician Frank Mizen, centre, on stage with legendary folk-country-prog-rockers Wally at the Royal Hall.

If there’s one name which keeps cropping up in various famous acts from the Harrogate district it’s that of unsung hero Frank Mizen.

Not that the multi-talented Frank has ever been one to blow his own trumpet.
Recently seen ‘on stage’ in the new Warehouse studios in Harrogate performing with Roy Webber introduced by ‘whispering’ Bob Harris, there’s far more to this veteran all-rounder than legendary prog-folk act Wally and its various offshoots later.
In earlier times he toured with The Jackson Five and was involved with the writing of 70s soul star Carl Douglas’s number one hit Kung Fu Fighting.
Frank is best known for being in Wally. The band was led by lead singer Roy Webber and the original line-up featured Pete Cosker, Nick Glennie-Smith, Paul Middleton, Roger Narraway, Pete Sage and Frank Mizen.
Wally famously appeared in on The Old Grey Whistle Test after being signed to Atlantic Records.
Frank never steps out of the shadows but is always there playing perfectly.

2 Younger Younger 28s. (1998-2001).

Now a bold and eccentric poet/artist/musician in London, the multi-talented Ashley Reaks is the closest thing to a genius the Harrogate music scene has ever produced in a single person.
And, perhaps, his biggest work of genius was the criminally under-rated, tongue-in-cheek synth pop band Younger Younger 28s.
Deliberately built on the template of Human League in their Don’t You Want Me prime with two boys and two girls in the line-up, so smart was the strategy of Ash and his partner Jimmy Dickinson, (ex-Little Angels) that the band never had to play a gig before a bidding war between record labels led to them being signed by V2 records.
The debut single by this witty and mock ‘dumb’ synth pop outfit We’re Going Out made the lower reaches of the top 40 on the giant Virgin label. Ashley and Jimmy and two girls - Andie and Liz who were recruited from the Academy of Contemporary Music - appeared on national TV several times, most notably Top of the Pops and Big Breakfast on Channel 4.
The band’s 80s retro influences proved to be six to seven years ahead of trend and their one and only album Soap didn’t quite do the business - except bizarrely in Japan - and Younger Younger 28s were sadly dropped.

3 Little Angels. (1984-1994).

One of the greatest UK hard rock outfits of the last 30 years and one of the few with a brass section called The Big Bad Horns, this Scarborough/Harrogate group had a string of medium hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Led by Toby Jepson, Frank Mizen’s name again crops up, playing trombone in the Little Angels in the same era that another local musician Grant Kirkhope played trumpet.
The line-up also included versatile Grant Kirkhope on horns section for a while, as pointed out by reader Jenny Bradley.
Little Angels hits flowed fast in the early 90s including A Little Angel which hit number 21, Too Much Too Young which reached 22 and a number one album Jam.
Having split up in 1994, the band reformed in June 2012 to play the Download Festival.

4 Tim Kellett. (1984 to present day).

Born in Knaresborough, this musician, songwriter and producer played trumpet for post-punk legends The Durutti Column before playing keyboards and singing backing vocals for Mick Hucknall in the golden, hit-strewn years of Simply Red.
After leaving Simply Red in Kellett in 1991, Kellett also had success in writing songs for The Lighthouse Family and recently, James Morrison.
Kellett now lives in Derbyshire, where he has his own recording studio.

5 Sulk. (2011 to present day).

Will this five-piece Harrogate/London/Scandanvian psychedelic rock/shoegaze band’s latest album No Illusions on indie label Perfect Sound Forever be the one finally which achieves the breakthrough for these darlings of the national critics?
And will it mean true success at last for their Harrogate-born members lead singer Jon Sutcliffe and rhythm guitarist Andrew Needle?
Debut album Graceless produced by Ed Buller of Suede fame, was well-received in 2013 by the national press so this exciting band which has toured with The Charlatans and Happy Mondays are in with a chance.

6 Billie Marten. (Current)

Not yesterday’s thing but tomorrow’s, perhaps, this hugely talented 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Ripon is tipped by industry insiders to emulate the success of Ed Sheeran.
By the age of 12, the hugely talented Billie was already being filmed by Ont’ Sofa, the Harrogate-based music video channel and production company, with her videos soon attracting thousands of views on Ont Sofa.
But the big breakthrough came when Billie won a record deal in early 2015 with Chess Club Records, a division of RCA/Sony Music who handle Mumford & Sons.
After releasing her incredible, self-penned song Heavy Weather, by the end of the same year Billie found herself on the shortlist for the BBC Sound of 2016 award. Her debut album called Writing of Blues and Yellows is released nationally on September 23.

7 Blood Youth. (2014 to present day).

Another hotly-tipped young metal/punk rock band from Harrogate that Harrogate itself had failed to recognise, the group were recently bigged up by Kerrang magazine.
Consisting of Kaya Tarsus (vocals), Chris Pritchard (guitar), Max Dawson (bass) and Sam Hallett (drums),
This energetic screaming/singing combo are shortly to set off on a proper national tour in support of the band’s Closure EP.

8 George McCormick. (1963 to present day).

Like fellow Harrogate veterans of the night in 1963 local bands supported The Beatles at the Royal Hall such as Barry Corbett, this longstanding musician has played with a lot of different groups over the years but kept going strong.
Aged 19 at the time, he was a lynchpin in the Ricky Fenton and The Apaches, being AKA Ricky himself and playing rhythm guitar the night he met John, Paul, George and Ringo.
His links to the biggest group in pop history mean he’s in demand from Beatles biographers.
The most recent is Dafydd ap Rees who called him up about a new book called Beatlemania – A Year in the Life 1963, a day by day account of what The Beatles did in 1963 based purely on new personal research.

9 Acid Reign. (1985-1991 plus 2015 onwards).

A thrash metal band with Harrogate links? Surely not? Well it’s true.
Formed in 1985 in Harrogate, Acid Reign were that rarest of things - a thrash metal band with a zany sense of humour.
Lead singer H (Howard Smith), guitarist Gaz Jennings, bassist Ian Gangwer and drummer Mark Ramsey Wharton went onto make big waves with their 1988 Moshkinstein mini-album before both Jennings and Gangwer left the band.

10 Stuart Colman. (1966 to present day).

Born in Harrogate, distinguished record producer, musician, journalist, TV scriptwriter and broadcaster, Stuart Colman first flirted with the charts as a member of Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours way back in 1966.
Later, Colman went onto work with the likes of Jeff Beck, The Blasters, Cliff Richard, Phil Everly, Alvin Stardust and Little Richard.
Much of Shakin’ Stevens 1980s and 90s success can be attributed to Colman.
After 20 years of success in Nashville, including arranging and producing the country demo of the Faith Hill smash hit This Kiss, Colman returned to the UK in 2014 to run his own business from the Cotswolds.